County: Warren County
The 1835 Port Colden Manor is the Port Colden Historic District’s largest and most impressive contributing resource. It is an outstanding provincial example of Greek Revival architecture. The massive stuccoed-stone structure with low-pitched hip roof exhibits characteristic Greek Revival elements such as a full-height portico of square paneled pillars (instead of the columns utilized for more high style buildings) stretching across its front, a wide encircling entablature whose plain frieze is pierced by horizontal, 3-light windows, and a main entry with sidelights, wide transom, vertical 2-panel door, and simple flanking pilasters. Both inside and out, the decorative trim incorporates Grecian ovolo moldings, and many of the twelve fireplaces feature the plain-pilastered mantels typical of local Greek Revival work.
William Dusenberry erected Port Colden settlement’s first storehouse on a 1.18-acre lot just north of the Morris Canal in 1833, and the Port Colden Manor hotel on a turnpike corner lot acquired in 1835. Dusenberry purportedly intended for the large hotel, with its impressive Greek Revival portico, to serve as a summer resort. He energetically sought to develop his new property on the canal and promote the fledgling community.
In the mid-19th century, the building became a boarding school for girls. During the past century, the main floor was used as offices for the local school district. The old hotel was converted into professional offices in the 1980s when the building underwent renovations that respected its historical architectural character. The location of the building is unfortunate, as it sits extremely close to both Port Colden Road and to an exit ramp off Route 57.
Currently the building is privately owned and is occupied by a residential tenant. The owner has made some minimal repairs and has discussed development proposals with Washington Township to convert the building into several apartments. However, those discussions appear to have reached an impasse as the town was requiring the owner to make repairs to the front porch and first floor entrance. The building, meanwhile, is unfortunately deteriorating with visible water damage to parts of the exterior. Preservation New Jersey urges all parties to come to an agreement soon, before deterioration causes irreparable harm to the local landmark.